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International Friends

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“Guess who is at the inn right now? “ Manfred called and said to me recently. Wanting to rapidly narrow the guessing game down from every individual on the planet, I said “I don’t know, who?” “Jun-Bo!” he exclaimed. As a seasonal business we have experienced over the years quite a parade of employees. We have been so fortunate to host literally dozens of foreign students over the years, and they have enriched our lives and experiences in so many ways. So many countries have been represented, from Peru to Brazil to Argentina to Costa Rica to far flung countries across the Atlantic like Austria, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, and even from the far east-South Korea and Australia and New Zealand. Having studied and lived abroad myself for several years, I have a natural curiosity about other cultures, languages and ideas, and these students have taught us so much. I remember nine years ago we had a particularly diverse and yet congenial trio of students, with Roxana from Peru, Aaron from Australia and Jun-Bo from Korea. At the end of the ski season before they all departed in different directions we enjoyed an international dinner together in our home, a bittersweet goodbye feast.  Aaron and Jun-Bo had successfully competed on the Snowed Inn Wacky Winter Games team along with Manfred, with Roxana performing the cheerleader duties (she had actually found pompoms somewhere). So when Jun-Bo, now an engineer with Samsung in Seoul, visiting his fiancé, currently a graduate student at Yale, paid us a surprise visit, there were smiles and tears all around. He brought me a small, beautiful pink silk bag, which he called a “Happy Pouch.” It hangs from my bedpost now and brings me joy every morning when I wake up. This year we have the good fortune to have Jonatan, a chiropractic student, from Brazil with us. A surfer at home, he has completely embraced snowboarding and delights every time snow falls. What a litany of memories we have created!

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